Tip-Off Timer: 88 Regular Season Games for Walt Bellamy
The New York Knicks traded aging star Walt Bellamy to the Pistons on December 19, 1969, in exchange for Dave DeBusschere. The swap cleared set the Knicks up for their only two championships in 1970 and 1972, as DeBusschere combined with Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett and Willis Reed to make a killer squad.
But because of a scheduling quirk, the trade also put Bellamy in the record books. Bells played 35 games in Knick blue during the 1969-70 before the trade. But the Pistons had only played 29 games to that point. Bells played all 53 games remaining on the Detroit schedule, and finished the season having played 88 regular season games. (Bellamy also happened to wear the jersey number 8 throughout his entire career.)
Bellamy is a forgotten great center of the '60s. He was overshadowed by Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, and rightly so. But Bells was a beast, averaging 20/14 for his career, and killing it with a rookie season for the Chicago Packers with 31/19. In most other eras, he sniffs MVP consideration. But during his time, he finished 11th once, and no higher at any other point. He was admitted to the Hall of Fame in 1993.
After just about one year in Detroit, Bellamy moved on to Atlanta, where he actually got to the league semifinals his first season before slipping into eventual retirement. Given the more balanced scheduling in today's NBA -- and the fact that players seem to take a few games off when traded for the physicals and all that -- it's unlikely another guy will ever tally 88 games in the regular season.